A brief history of WTN
The Talking Newspaper movement was an invention of the early 1970’s, with a small tape recorder which used cassette tapes. Heathfield and District Talking Newspaper Association (HTNA), initially funded, and supported by both Heathfield and Uckfield Lions, was one of the first associations formed to provide news to the blind.
Ted Davis, founder of HTNA, worked from a caravan in his garden and created around 200 tapes a week. Copy from the Sussex Express and the Courier was edited to provide three separate local editions of news.
Ted Davis went on to establish the National Talking News & Magazines (NTN&M) in 1974 and in 1983 operations were expanded to a national distribution service, also located in Heathfield, and subsequently going into partnership with the RNIB.
The founding of the national operation, brought about a split from the local organisation and HTNA continued to produce local news under the direction of Wayne and Dorothy Bottje. New premises were found above the Oxfam shop in Heathfield, 68a High Street.
In 1993, Derrick Trueman joined as an editor, and put in place a number of improvements, changing the name to Wealden Talking News. The output expanded to include separate magazine tapes, edited by blind listener Richard Foster. At about this time WTN moved to its present premises in Cherwell Road and after some years, when Derrick retired, the leadership was taken on by Mike Snatt.
Today the mantle is carried by the chairman of trustees John Clemence who oversees a army of over 70 loyal volunteers and nine trustees. The generous support of the Lions is continued through Uckfield & District Lions Club.
Board Of Trustees
John Clemence (Chairman)
Amanda Burt (Blind awareness consultant)
Robert Eaves (Treasurer)
Richard Foster (Magazine producer)
Heather Halit (Vice-chair & Editing supervisor)
Pat Harwood (Registrar)
Mike Hollis (Technical manager)
Sara Hook (Publicity)
David Skinner (Lions Club representative)
Dianne Steele (Secretary & website)
Featured below – Trustees inspecting the plans for the studio refurbishment.